Three Aussies make last 16 at WSL Rip Curl Pro in Portugal
AUSTRALIAN surfers Jack Freestone, Soli Bailey and Wade Carmichael have progressed to the last 16 at the WSL's Rip Curl Pro in Portugal.
But Ace Buchan, Owen Wright and Julian Wilson bowed out after close battles in the 1.3-1.8m surf at the world-class beach break of Supertubos, near Peniche, on Friday.
Brazilians Gabriel Medina, Felipe Toledo, Italo Ferreira, South African Jordy Smith and US star Kelly Slater remain in the hunt.
Freestone produced one of the performances of the round by beating French beach-break specialist Joan Duru 15.00 to 11.10.
The 27-year-old Freestone dropped three scores above 5.5 and never fell behind Duru, whose best wave was a 6.77.
The Aussie showed off his aerodynamic capabilities by landing an impressive air reverse, which he claimed with his hands behind his back for an 8.17.
Freestone must get past compatriot Bailey, who will face his second consecutive Australian opponent after beating Julian Wilson 12.70 to 11.43.
Queenslander Bailey opened the scoring with a 5.33 followed by a 6.10, with both waves involving powerful carves and jamming, near-vertical snaps.
Bailey broke out of a daunting combo score situation in emphatic style, combining a backhand snap into a tail slide before launching into another snap that blew his fins through the back of wave for an 8.17.
Carmichael was also lucky to advance, edging Brazilian Yago Dora 11.10 to 10.60.
He faces a tough clash next with world No.2 Toledo, who beat local Vasco Ribeiro 14.60 to 10.10.
World No.7 Owen Wright was eliminated after falling to Dora's compatriot Jesse Mendes 11.10 to 93.
Mendes will next take on fellow Brazilian Peterson Crisanto, who beat Frenchman Jeremy Flores 16.54 to 15.00.
Buchan couldn't better a 4.17 and finished on 7.54 against Griffin Colapinto's 10.80.
The American will have to get past world No.3 Smith, who beat Colapinto's brother, Crosby, 8.57 to 3.17.
In other heats, world No.1 Medina incinerated local wildcard Miguel Blanco 13.67 to 8.33 to set up a round-of-16 clash with compatriot Caio Ibelli, who narrowly beat Tahitian barrel-hunter Michel Bourez 12.97 to 11.57.
World No.5 Kolohe Andino prevailed 11.83 to 8.17 over Brazilian Jadson Andre to book a surf-off with Michael Rodrigues, who downed compatriot Deivid Silva 9.27 to 7.27.
Slater, who has found a rich vein of form after the last tournament in France, annihilated Hawaiian Sebastian Zietz 15.56 to 1.93.
The 11-time world champion's next opponent is Japan's Kanoa Igarashi, who edged Italian Leo Fioravanti 12.30 to 11.86.
World No.4 Ferreira will face Conner Coffin after he beat local Federico Morais 16.20 to 10.33.
The American prevailed 13.64 to 9.60 over Brazilian William Cardoso.